College Portfolio


TPF Noob!
Aug 6, 2013
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Hello everyone!

I am looking for a critique/advice on my photos. I will be applying to colleges this fall (Parsons, FIT, SVA, etc) for photography. I am having a hard time deciding what photos I want to use to represent myself in my portfolio, so I was hoping to hear your opinions!

Here are what I feel are my personal best (I also have a folder of traditional art which is not as strong, but you can also comment on that if you would like!):

Feedback would be wonderful! Thank you!
How many images do your require for your portfolio, and do you need any specific genres? You have some interesting images, but not a lot of what I would expect in a genera portfolio.
Speaking as someone who knows absolutely nothing about the standards expected or required, I really liked them.
There seemed to be several instances where you had 'sets' of images that differed only slightly (40/42, 42/43). Since they aren't a series but only sort of duplicates, I would pick only the stronger of each similar pair to keep.
There were only a few I really didn't like and I think you would do well to include at least one good straightforward portrait to show you can do it.

The only thing id say about these though, (besides they are all well done) is that aside from being good in the technical scale, they are mostly cliche. what I would do is pick a theme, (even if its not hands) and focus on that. shoot a series and choose 10-20 of the strongest images. I would also try to shoot the type of photography that interests you most and that you wish to pursue. and from what I saw it seems like you have a broad range that you can shoot well.
Parsons requires 9-12, but most of the other schools I am applying to are around 10-20, none of which need a specific genre.
then from what you are showing us id pick 20 and then narrow it down to 10 for parsons.
most if not all are strong enough to use.
I agree it might work to choose the best of the various sets. Some of the ones that stood out to me were the insect on what almost looks like a fence that's echoed in the background, the ferris wheel with caution sign, the young man in B&W striped shirt (partly because of his seemingly direct yet contemplative expression).

There are some that I feel like I've kind of seen done elsewhere, like the water drops, the riders on the ferris wheel.

I also think some that are interesting and unique are in B&W - the hands backlit, the young woman looking up and thru something that intrigues me because I can't figure out what it is!, the one that looks like the subject is holding up the wall against her back, the street scene shot from behind, the straw hat with dappled sunlight.

You seem to have plenty of good photos to choose from. I don't know what they'd be looking for, I just felt like the ones I mentioned got me wanting a second look. Good luck.
For what its worth, I think your best shot is #14, with the guy reaching through the picture frame. I'm not sure I've ever seen something done this way.
I would do a bit of research on each school, find out their general aesthetic, and shape the portfolio around that. Look closely at the kind of work current students are making. Is it documentary, fashion, commercial, fine art, experimental? Parsons and FIT tend to emphasize fashion. SVA is more fine art/experimental with some fashion. Personally, I think you fit in the best at SVA. I agree to use a theme and create work around a specific idea. Good luck with it!
Idk what your school is looking for but based on the photos you shared I'd say you should stick with the surrealism theme in your photos and eliminate the other ones.
I think the most important thing in a portfolio is consistency. People should have a slight idea of what your future photos will be like based on your past photos, if that makes sense.
This doesn't mean do the same thing over and over but there still should be a harmonious style. I'd get rid of the random insect photos, the water photos, the roller coaster ones, and the fireworks shot, And keep the dramatic black and white silhouettes and the double exposure ones. Those are the best in there anyway.
The shadow puppet one is my favorite, for what it's worth.
Kinda off topic, but a school to consider would be the Hallmark Institute of Photography out in Massachusetts. The school is more geared towards commercial advertising and portraiture, so if this would be one of the fields you would like to get in to, then I'd highly recommend looking into this school. It's also the school I went to and it taught me quite a bit and I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for that school.

I'd say you have a very unique taste in your photography. Very surreal in some of your photos. I'd say the strongest shot that you have is #5 (bug on leaf) because of the composition and shallow depth of field. My next favorite would be #4 (photo of girl). The composition is good and lighting is nice and soft. If I had to change one thing about this shot, I would have her head in the right side of the frame
For what its worth, I think your best shot is #14, with the guy reaching through the picture frame. I'm not sure I've ever seen something done this way.

Yes, that is a strong, good image, very different. I went through the slideshow of photos very quickly, twice. I would drop the cliche stuff, like the "levitating" photos, and as mentioned the water droplets, and the other shots that have poor electronic flash use. I would remove 75% of the images, leaving the strongest ones. For example, the two of the girl's back...those need to go.

I'm not sure if you have a friend or high school mentor who could help you, but I do think the more common shots, like the whole levitating "THING", is simply too common, too over-done, too "Flickr" to be included. The Clinton Street multi exposure for example is better than the one where the sensor dust blobs show.

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